Social Media Snares: Cricketers Who Have Been Exposed (Part 1)
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have millions of cricket fans from around the world who are eager to follow and keep in touch with their cricketing heroes. Most cricketers want to engage with their fans from around the world and tend to have an active social media life. This turns out to be a blessing for most, but a huge challenge for some cricketers.
The top cricket teams in the world like India and Australia hire a media manager who is expected to establish a protocol on how players should handle the media. They will also advise them on the do’s and don’ts of social media etiquette. However, cricketers are adults who tend to do what they feel is right. Some of them create unnecessary controversy and criticism from their social media antics.
We will take a look at some of the cricketers who, in recent years, have got themselves into trouble. Their massive presence on social media has made things worse. In Part 1 of this series, we look at Hardik Pandya and Ben Stokes.
Pandya is the premier all-rounder in India who has been in the spotlight for the last few years. He has quickly gained a massive fan following on Instagram and has close to 9 million followers. Pandya’s sense of style is wacky to most and cool to some. He is known for dressing up in crazy outfits for posting regularly on Instagram.
Exploits With Women
The 25-year-old got into trouble in early 2019 when he appeared on a popular talk show, ‘Koffee With Karan’. Pandya boasted about his exploits with women, which came across as degrading. It resulted in the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) suspending him from all forms of cricket for a short period.
He was bashed by millions of fans during this period of time. However, it appears Pandya hasn’t learned his social media lessons as well as he should.
Foot In The Mouth Tweet
Pandya took to Twitter in October to congratulate former left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan for his birthday. However, his congratulatory tweet was corny as it included a video of Pandya hitting Khan for a six in the Indian Premier League and a message for Khan to celebrate his birthday in similar fashion.
Khan is one of the most respected Indian fast bowlers, with over 500 international wickets to his name (tests and ODIs.) His fans were upset at the disrespectful tweet from Pandya and bashed Pandya on Twitter for not having respect or class. Some of these comments were really harsh, letting Pandya know that he can amass a lot of money, but can never buy class.
This maverick behaviour from Pandya on social media is hurting his reputation in Indian cricket. It could backfire big time for him and impact his career if he continues to aggravate Indian cricket fans.
If Pandya is the best all-rounder in India, Ben Stokes is the premier all-rounder in world cricket. Stokes is not as popular as Pandya on social media with just 1 million followers on Instagram.
Stokes, who was suspended by the ECB for his role in a nightclub brawl in Bristol in 2018, put his past behind him and has had a phenomenal year in 2019 helping England win the 2019 ICC World Cup and two Ashes test matches.
Stokes was at the center of a domestic violence controversy in October 2019. British tabloids leaked pictures of him allegedly choking his wife in public. Stokes and his wife denied those allegations. Meanwhile, his wife, Clare, took to Twitter to post a picture of her pushing her husband. She said that is the way they play.
The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) looked into the matter and concluded that there was no domestic violence, just the media creating a controversy to gain publicity.
In Part 2 – we continue to look at more players who have fallen into the social media snare.